All dog owners know that our pups use their eyes to communicate with us.

It’s important to pay attention to those signals and acknowledge how precious their eyes are. So, if you notice some redness or discomfort in their eyes, taking decisive action can relieve their suffering sooner rather than later. Especially during the warmer months, it pays to be vigilant because of allergies and environmental irritants. Being aware of the most likely causes will help your canine back to full health.

Most likely cause of eye redness



Just like us humans, doggies can suffer from allergies especially in the spring and summertime. If you’re noticing typical hay fever-like symptoms such as sneezing, itchiness, redness, irritation or inflammation, call your vet to confirm a seasonal allergy. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.

Environmental Irritants

When we say environmental irritants, this could mean substances inside or outside the home. Think about what could be causing the eye redness in your dog. Are you using household sprays or products, perfume, incense or is there more dust around? Do you live in an are with pollutants or on or near a farm where there may be chemicals at certain times? If your dog has redness, is teary or has discharge or itchiness, try to rule out and remove environmental irritants. Talk to your vet if symptoms don’t improve.


Many of us will have had a spot of conjunctivitis at some point, so we might recognise the mucky discharge, and red, swollen, watery eyes. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection and it’s definitely worth getting it checked out at the vet. But, in the meantime, salty water or sometimes a herbal solution like chamomile or calendula can help alleviate symptoms.

Dry eye syndrome

This condition can cause redness because the tear glands stop producing moisture which can dry out the cornea. The official name for this disorder is keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS for short. It’s definitely worth consulting your vet if you suspect doggo has this as it can be a sign of an underlying condition.


Glaucoma is a serious condition which can lead to blindness. It can often be a genetic disorder, common in some breeds. When glaucoma is present, fluid builds up pressure on the optic nerve and so it affects the dog’s vision. Aside from redness around the eyes and vision problems, other symptoms can include swelling, cloudiness, pain, and pupil dilation. If you notice any of these, get to the vet straight away.

Foreign body

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the best. Of course, your dog might’ve simply gotten something in their eye. During summertime especially, when you’re out and about more, there are plenty of prickly plants and other objects lurking which might be what’s causing the red eyes. It’s common sense of course, but have a good look to see if you can see anything before calling for help.

Corneal ulcers

This condition follows on perfectly from foreign bodies as it often happens when the cornea gets scratched by something like a thorn from a bush. The cornea is the membrane that covers the eye and if it’s penetrated by something and bacteria gets in, it can become damaged and very painful. So, if the red eye is giving your dog a lot of grief and they’re constantly scratching or pawing it, please see your vet immediately.

Eye irritation in dogs can be fairly common and not necessarily something to panic about. But it’s definitely worth investigating if the redness doesn’t clear up or isn’t caused by something obvious in your environment or a foreign object. To avoid unnecessary pain and complications it’s often a good idea to get the red eyes check out.


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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at or via LinkedIn.